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FAST CLASS: Portraits Under Pressure

Lesson 16 of 19

The Importance of Being Prepared

Victoria Will

FAST CLASS: Portraits Under Pressure

Victoria Will

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Lesson Info

16. The Importance of Being Prepared

Lesson Info

The Importance of Being Prepared

you know, yesterday we talked about connection, Of course. And we talked about, um, having that point of view. We'll continue to talk about that today. But we haven't talked too much about being prepared. And I'm going into this situation blind, and so I'm gonna have to prepare as much as possible. And my favorite phrase, which I say all the time, is that luck favors the prepared. Obviously, when you can prepare, you want to scout the location, right? You want to see the space that you're going into and you, most importantly, want to check that space, if you can at the same time of day that you're gonna be shooting because that's going to tell you a lot. If you're gonna be shooting at sunset, don't check it. You know, 11 a.m. Because it's a different circumstances, Um, and come up with ideas. I do think it's important to have sort of a plan a a general idea of what you're trying to achieve. But when you walk into the room, you have to be willing to throw that all out the window. But mo...

st of the time, I think you start your starting with a and then you're building off of it. Plan A and you're building off of it. Um, and willing to be flexible was really important. So I bring I talk to you guys about it yesterday, and I've given you a list of gear that I tend to bring to the chutes where I don't know what I'm doing. I bring 3 to lights, all batteries. Stands for those, of course. And then a bunch of modifiers. A beauty dish with a grid. Ah, faux tech, soft lighter. Probably a regular, just small umbrella just to have it. You never know. A strip light, a small strip light. I prefer the much smaller one because I like having more control. Um, I bring that baby stand the really small one, and, um, in my cases, all have clamps and maybe some gels. Just because you never know circumstances might call for it. Gaff tape, Of course. Um, screwdriver assistance are really great at having actual physical tools. Sometimes I need to remove paintings from walls and things like that. So it's just sort of being able t think on the fly. And then, uh, when you have these opportunities or, you know, when you're on set, you have to make your own opportunities. And I'm gonna talk about a little bit more about that now. So just to recap a lot of, um, what we've been doing talking about preparation when you're prepared, you have more confidence. When you have more confidence, you're able to connect, and it's all intertwined. Um, and then lastly, which I've said a lot is it when in doubt, when you're struggling, simplify when I'm really having a hard time, I just like, break it down. It's about the portrait Stop, Stop what you're doing and make it about the image. So another, uh, situation another way to be prepared. And to have that confidence for a shoot is to be able to ask for what you need. That's really important. Sometimes, uh, we were support. This is Dave Girl. We were supposed to photograph him in his dressing room at the Ed Sullivan Theater. He was going on Letterman later that night. And, uh, the dressing room was really small, very similar to the Brooke Shields photo that I showed you earlier. And I was sort of struggling with how I was gonna make the dressing room work. I wouldn't have shot him necessarily in front of the light. That probably would have put up a seamless. But the room was so small and I said, Well, why don't we go up on the roof? A lot of times people say no. Also, Publicist will say, Well, we can go up on the roof, but you only have 10 minutes and getting to the roof is part of your 10 minutes, and so you have to decide whether that makes sense. But he was all for it when he went up on the roof and we took some photos and this particular one I love, um, I have a lot of him with eye contact and what not? But we only had 10 minutes up there. And what made it so nice is that I don't think that Dave girl can walk down the street very much in the middle of New York without being, you know, harassed or at least people coming up. Damn, Maybe harass is too strong a word, but here he is, on the roof of a building in the middle of Times Square, essentially, and he's sort of at peace, and I thought that was a really nice moment

Class Description


Try a Fast Class – now available to all Creator Pass subscribers! Fast Classes are shortened “highlight” versions of our most popular classes that let you consume 10+ hours in about 60 minutes. We’ve edited straight to the most popular moments, actionable techniques, and profound insights into bite-sized chunks– so you can easily find and focus on what matters most to you. (And of course, you can always go back to the full class for a deep dive into your favorite parts.)

Full-length class: Portraits Under Pressure with Victoria Will

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  • Leverage new techniques for choosing the light and locations for a successful portrait
  • Know how to build a rapport and utilize clear communication with your subjects
  • Set up a developed concept as well as how to light on the fly
  • Use successful strategies for marketing yourself as a photographer and how to get your work in front of editors


Portraits require more than just great lighting and equipment. Sometimes a shoot doesn’t go as planned. The location is drab, the client isn’t in the best mood, or you forget to charge your camera batteries. Great portrait photography artists are able to think on their feet, connect with their subjects -- and capture great images under pressure. The best portraits often come from portrait sessions that didn't go exactly as planned, when challenges turn into assets.

Celebrity portrait photographer Victoria Will shows you how to use your environment to capture a unique, sharp image that reflects the person in the portrait. She’ll also highlight how to quickly evaluate a less than perfect situation and make it work for you and your subject. Take your portraits from amateur to near Mona Lisa gallery worthy by learning how to shoot portraits under pressure.

You’ll watch Victoria photograph real people in limited settings, discovering multiple opportunities in a limited space. Learn her three portrait musts for preparation, point-of-view, and connection. Gain insight into how to make every frame count and how to get the shots the editor requested, as well as those that speak to your vision. Learn how to make your subject feel comfortable in only a few moments while capturing exquisite photo collections in Portraits Under Pressure.


The photographer looking to improve their portraiture through thoughtful lighting, creative techniques and leveraging the environment around you to get a consistent appearance.

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